Virtual Voices

Bibles are "smut"

Religion

For three days this week, a student group at the University of Texas at San Antonio has been offering fellow students free pornography in exchange for their Bibles (or any other "holy books").

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The organization, named "The Atheist Agenda," calls its campaign "Smut for Smut." Members sit at a table in the lobby of the humanities building with a sign that reads, "Trade in Holy Texts 4 Porn," ready to hand over a pornographic magazine in return for a Bible. It's a revival of sorts: They first did this back in December 2005. At that time, a group member explained to the school newspaper, The Independent, the reasons behind the controversial, in-your-face initiative: "The idea is that religious texts are so appalling. They are so full of genocide, misogyny and ludicrous ideas that far overshadow any banal common-sense platitudes like loving thy neighbor, that you are better off having porn, which isn't nearly as smutty."

Kevin Prather is the Baptist Student Ministry Director at UTSA. He writes on his blog why he thinks this is happening:

"It is . . . a snapshot of the 'New Atheism' that is springing up in America---aggressive and confrontational. It outrages the sense of Christians. And the Atheist Agenda does this solely for this purpose: To get under the skin of Christians and to provoke an angry response so they can point at screaming Christians and say to their peers: 'See they are angry, self-righteous, judgmental people.'"

While emotions are said to be running high, the only reported response, according to KENS-TV, is that "some students gathered in protest by reading their Bibles and praying."

University officials say the campaign falls under the category of protected free speech.

Anyone who thinks people are "better off having porn" should check out a new website called PornHarms.com. It documents the devastation pornography wreaks on children, marriages, and society in general.

Marcia Segelstein
Marcia Segelstein

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